I just reread my year-end reports from 2018. (I have some work to do.) One of those posts was about what I had read. One of them had to do with paying for college. My mother was famous as a worrier, which was not great but did result in a daughter who was careful about money.
My husband and I have managed full retirement quite well financially. We are maintaining a small reserve in the bank, taking a day now and again to travel nearby and stay the night, and thinking ahead to what we need for the future. We need a new roof and some other major repairs. Our wood-burning stove needs replacing—it’s necessary in a location where the power routinely goes out in the winter, usually for a day at a time, but sometimes for a week. All of this means we have decided to budget more tightly in 2020 in anticipation of these expenses. We got through college without debt and entirely under our own steam because we had cheap habits and careful spending. Some of that is still true. We still do not smoke or use drugs. We drink good coffee and cheap wine. We have not eaten most meat for decades, not because we disliked meat, but because it felt morally wrong the way animals are raised, and increasingly dangerous to our health and the health of the planet. We eat organic food but plan to be completely vegetarian for the rest of this new year, abstaining from our habit of seafood once or twice a week. We’ll see how that goes. But cheese. We both think we will always have cheese.
This past couple of days we had our children and their children here for a visit. The the tea party for the kids was a bust, but we walked the beach and I knit with Ruby. There was a scavenger search around the house with written clues (thank you, Emily), The Family Stone (thank you, Kerris), and eleven for dinner last night. There was a lot of food. My baking and cooking plan included a detailed timeline for chili verde, sautéing mushrooms and onions, roasting various vegetables, poaching salmon, putting together frittatas, frying latkes, Waldorf salad, pumpkin custards, cranberry bread and also orange-cranberry sauce, wild rice, and rugelach. I made vegetable stock. I cooked like a crazy person. Saturday morning, I baked two loaves of bread—which was not even on the list!
We managed. Everyone is gone now because of work tomorrow, and I would be feeling pretty great about now but did not sleep last night.
You do your best, and the best is never perfect, not even close. But you hope that the people you love most in the entire world understand you are imperfect but trying hard.